A Queenstown bus trial between the Otago Regional Council
(ORC) and Connectabus, which has been going for the past 32
months, has been hailed a success, with support now meaning
the bus service provider can now operate on a stand-alone
The trial was established with significant investment by ORC,
New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), Connectabus, and the
Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC). ORC finance and
corporate committee chairman Duncan Butcher said the project
was in response to population growth projections and was
designed to provide improved and reliable commuter services,
which would become commercially viable and therefore
permanent within the project timeframe.
''With the co-operation and expertise of the people at
Connectabus and the support of the community, we've achieved
''People now need to understand that this service is running
purely on a commercial basis and its ongoing viability will
depend on their continued support,'' Mr Butcher said.
Connectabus managing director Ewen McCammon said he was
delighted to be able to offer unsubsidised services on all
routes established during the trial - Kelvin Heights, Arthurs
Point, Quail Rise and Lake Hayes Estate, along with the
original routes to Frankton, Fernhill/Sunshine Bay and
''We've used the subsidy to establish routes and we couldn't
have done it without that help.
''Arthurs Point runs have been offered on a purely commercial
basis for the past four months and that will now extend to
''When we consider where this service has come from and how
it's grown in the past five years, we're pretty pleased with
what we've achieved.''
The project also included the development of an electronic
ticketing `Go Card' system that substantially reduced the
cost of travel for regular commuters.
''We've set this up in consultation with local businesses and
people who travel regularly.
''If people use the buses as a taxi service, it will cost
more, but if they buy into it as their primary form of
transport then it becomes very cheap,'' Mr McCammon said.
Commuters were advised to consult new timetables which would
be widely distributed over the next few weeks. The
alterations would come into effect from March 1. All areas
would retain bus services, undiminished during commuter hours
- early and late in the day - but with some reductions on
some runs during the middle of the day.
Mr McCammon said the company would introduce more services if
there was demand.
''We are very sensitive to the community and its transport
needs and are a small, responsive company willing to work
with our customers to provide an awesome service.
''Our bus service is unique. There's no other such commercial
system in Australasia running in a town this size. We depend
on visitors as well as the support of local commuters to make
all of our routes work.''